Jessica Daniel,  Orchestra Director

Jessica Daniel is a professional violinist and has been teaching and performing throughout Atlanta and the Southeast region for several years. She is a regular clinician for middle and high school orchestras around the Metro Atlanta area. She also maintains a small private studio in Decatur.

​Jessica is a member of the Savannah Philharmonic and regularly plays with other regional orchestras including the Augusta Symphony and the Atlanta Pops Orchestra. She has shared the stage with notable acts such as Rod Stewart, Michael Bublé, and Kygo. In Atlanta, she is Principle Second Violinist of the First Presbyterian Church Orchestra, and plays for weddings and other events around the city.  Jessica believes in the power of music to connect people through shared experience and enjoys fostering that spark in the hearts of her students. 

Emily Damrel, Orchestra Teacher
Emily Damrel is a professional double bassist and music teacher located in Decatur, Georgia. She studied Music Education with a concentration in Double Bass Performance at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. After graduating, she went on to teach privately and in the public schools of Charleston, S.C. where her students won principal and high-ranking seats in regional and all-state orchestras.

​She has played with the Long Bay Symphony, Summerville Orchestra, and Wilmington Symphony, and she regularly gigs in non-classical styles including bluegrass and old time. Noteworthy performances include the International Bluegrass Music Festival (Raleigh, NC), and a role in "Beautiful Star" (Triad Stage, Greensboro, NC). At home, you can find her daydreaming about the Blue Ridge Mountains, drinking coffee, and attempting to cuddle with her rambunctious cat, Don Gato.

Nia Schooler, Program Coordinator
Nia ​was one of several Decatur parents that championed the concept of an extra-curricular orchestra program into reality for Renfroe Middle School and the new 4/5 Academy at 5th Avenue several years ago.  She has stayed involved with the program since its inception, helping it to grow and thrive. Over the years she has served as fundraiser, bookkeeper, and administrative support for the program. She currently manages the budget, hires extra staff as needed, recruits students, manages instrument maintenance and repair, organizes the concerts, communicates with parents, develops and implements strategies to both grow the program and keep it financially accessible for all students who want to play and provides classroom support to the instructors. Nia is also the liaison for the orchestra program with the CSD school administration and with Decatur Education Foundation, the fiscal sponsor for Decatur Strings.

Nia has a strong background in the arts, primarily in music and theater. She studied music education at Adams State College in Colorado and has worked professionally as a singer, actor, and arts administrator for many years in New York and Edinburgh, Scotland before relocating to Decatur with her family.